Over more than 500 years of history, the celebrated Brazilian cuisine is the result of a great mix of traditions, ingredients and foods that were introduced not only by the native indigenous but also by all immigration flows that took place over five centuries. Each region of the country has its gastronomic peculiarities and each cuisine is profoundly linked and adapted to the climate and geography. In addition, the discovery of Brazil itself refers to cuisine, as Portuguese sails landed on the Brazilian coast in 1500 while sailing in search of the East Indies and their spices. Due to differences in climate, terrain, type of soil and vegetation, not to mention the diversity of populations inhabiting the same region, it is very difficult to establish a typical Brazilian dish. But perhaps the national unanimity must be rice and beans, whose preparation varies according to each region. However, the mixture of two ingredients that are so common on the Brazilian table, is still not enough to summarize all the complexity and richness of Brazilian national cuisine.
If you consider getting to know the typical dishes of the destination, trying new ways of making a well-known recipe, and finding pleasure in all the activities that involve these things, you have probably already practiced gastronomic tourism. Getting popular everyday all over the world, gastronomic tourism is an invitation to go beyond the contemplation of beautiful landscapes and tourist attractions and to be willing to experience new sensations through taste. Due to its continental proportions, Brazil is one of the most gastronomically versatile destinations, not to mention the incomparable richness of ingredients that only one of the biggest food producers in the world could offer. From north to south, dozens of awarded chefs and restaurants are revealed every year and, together, they offer gastronomic experiences that are unforgettable and warm, just like Brazil and Brazilians.
Here’s a selection of 13 wonderful and mouthwatering best restaurants in Brazil. Get hungry and ready for the authentic Brazilian table! GT DMC can offer the best personalized gastronomic itineraries for you!
A Casa do Porco (Republic, São Paulo city )
The bar-restaurant is one of the most celebrated in the country and abroad. Managed by the couple Jefferson and Janaína Rueda, the São Paulo restaurant was recently elected the 17th best restaurant in the world by “The World’s 50 Best Restaurants “. In the latest edition of the ranking, released even before the pandemic, in 2019, A Casa do Porco was already included, but in 39th. Now, in addition to having risen 22 positions on the list, the restaurant is still the only Brazilian restaurant among the 20 best in the world.
The menu at A Casa do Porco is, of course, a celebration of the versatility of pork. The sanzé pork is considered by critics and customers to be one of the best dishes in the city: roasted meat, moist, with a crispy skin, along with bean tutu [black beans paste], onion farofa, finely sliced raw cabbage, banana salad and manioc cream – the items usually vary. Porklets are breaded and fried porkchops with tartar sauce and salad. The best way to eat a little of everything is to order the tasting menu. The sequence can start with the so-called breakfast: ham broth, pork sausage sandwiches , vegetable, fruit and mayonnaise canapés, bread with homemade bologna and kombucha to drink. The classic lemon caipirinha, with Da Lage cachaça, from São José do Rio Pardo, Rueda’s birthplace, pairs very well with the meal.
Araújo, 124 – República, São Paulo – SP
Nova Capela (Lapa, Rio de Janeiro city)
Opened in 1903, the pioneering restaurant in Lapa is a supreme classic of popular gastronomy in Rio de Janeiro. A safe haven for Rio’s bohemia, it was frequented by Brazilian politicians and artists for many decades. The original decoration dates back to the city’s past and its illustrious visitors, with all the charm and simplicity that captivate visitors through many years. Legend has it that Dr. Oswaldo Aranha (Brazilian lawyer, politician and renowned diplomat) always ordered a filet with fried garlic flakes when he was there, thus creating the famous filet named after him. The main dish is the cabrito assado [roasted goatling], but don’t forget to order the delicious bolinho de bacalhau [codfish cakes] and one of the coldest and most delicious draft beers in town.
Av. Mem de Sá, 96 – Centro, Rio de Janeiro – RJ
Pippo (Paraty, Rio de Janeiro state )
Inside Pousada do Sando, one of the most traditional accommodations in Paraty, Pippo is a true institution of the city’s gastronomy. In an elegant room in shades of black and white, main dishes refer to Sicily, the home region of chef Basílio Muscara, the popular Pippo, with lots of seafood, evidencing a close relationship between the Caiçara (means “raised by the sea”) cuisine of the Costa Verde region and the fishing tradition. It is heard that many of the fish served at Pippo’s are caught by the chef himself, who also prepares most of the pasta on the menu, which has many vegan options. One of the highlights are the details of the decor, inspired by Italian cinema from the 1950s and 1960s, with pictures of stars hanging on the walls and even baptizing dishes in homage to the Seventh Art, such as Pappardelle alla Dolce Vita (arugula and sesame pasta with basil, olive oil salt, walnuts, zucchini and pistachios) and Sophia Loren salads (arugula, lettuce, buffalo mozzarella and dried tomato) and Bardot (arugula, lettuce, fresh ecological palm hearts, carrots and dehydrated zucchini). A must go!
Ten. Francisco Antonio, 46 – Centro Histórico, Paraty – RJ
Manu (Curitiba, Paraná )
As the name suggests, Manu Buffara is the chef responsible for the cuisine of Manu Restaurante, the first in southern Brazil to be included in the list of the 50 best restaurants in Latin America. The enterprise offers only a tasting menu of fresh products, with seasonal ingredients. The result is dishes with elegant mixtures like urchin with onions and squid served in their ink, corn and basil. The sophisticated cocktail pairing employs fermentation techniques passed down from generations from Manu’s Italian grandmother and honed during a formative period at Noma [one of the best restaurants in the world, located in Denmark] over a decade ago to create juices, kombucha , handmade beers and much more. Highlight for food presentations, always strikingly beautiful.
Alameda Dom Pedro II, 317, Batel – Curitiba/PR
Xapuri (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais )
Founded in 1987, Xapuri is a gastronomic institution with a rural atmosphere and has a beautiful wood stove that welcomes diners. The restaurant is headed by Flácio Trombino, who succeeded his mother Nelsa Trombino at the post. On the menu, pork rinds are a must, in addition to farofa with eggplant and jerky, grilled chicken and sinhá ribs. The desserts are a show apart and are served in an endless buffet of options such as dulce de leche, goiabada [guava paste] harmonized with local cheeses (creating a delicious salty and sweet mixture considered a cultural property in Brazil), among many others.
Rua Mandacarú, 260 – Trevo, Belo Horizonte – MG
Leite (Recife, Pernambuco)
Located in Pernambuco, in a historic mansion in Praça Joaquim Nabuco, Leite is one of the oldest restaurants in Brazil – it is the first one, to be true, considering that it has remained in the same place and has not had service suspended since its opening. Leite was founded in 1882 and has therefore been in full operation for 138 years. In more than a century, politicians, intellectuals and famous people in general have passed through it, such as Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Orson Welles, Gilberto Freyre, Juscelino Kubitschek and Jânio Quadros (former presidents in Brazil). The atmosphere preserved an aristocratic feeling, with long and thick curtains protecting the room from the relentless Recife sun. The menu includes dishes known throughout Brazil that were invented there, such as the Chateaubriand filet, with molho madeira [such as a gravy], onions, peas, mushrooms, rice pilaf and shoestring potatoes.
Praça Joaquim Nabuco, 147 – Santo Antônio, Recife – PE
Sud, O Pássaro Verde (Jardim Botânico, Rio de Janeiro city)
Chef Roberta Sudbrack’s new restaurant in Rio is like this: a little white house with an open gate, and guests must simply enter. With no sign on the door and a no reservation policy, Sudbrack offers a sincere cuisine, made with affection, served with generosity in a cozy atmosphere. The place has a nostalgic aura, with the mood of a country house. A celebration ofsimplicity in the kitchen towels that are napkins, in the piles of dishes that became decoration. And in the clay oven.
After two years operating only for delivery due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Sud is back and open again for true sensory experiences. In this new phase, products from small producers, the fire and the stellar chef techniques are increasingly aligned to extract the peak of flavor from the food, with minimal intervention. Cooked slowly over the grill, the brisket arrives at the table with jasmine rice from Serra da Mantiqueira, cavolo nero (typical Tuscan cabbage) and mini peppers (159 BRL). Moist inside and with seasonal vegetables on the outside, the rice with fruits of the land (75.00 BRL) continues to reign on the menu. The perfect finale is in charge of the legendary chocolate cake, moisty, with sour cream and hot chocolate syrup (39.00 BRL).
Rua Visconde de Carandaí, 35, Jardim Botânico.
Origem (Salvador, Bahia)
The restaurant of chef Fabrício Lemos and pâtissière chef Lisiane Arouca only works with a tasting menu, created monthly by both of them, based on respect for seasonality, freshness and the explosion of flavors of genuinely local ingredients, combined with contemporary techniques. There are 14 stages, and you still have the option to pair your dinner with wines. Some of the dishes are Black Angus with carrot mousseline, manioc leaves, zucchini, okra and even fried cabbage and demi. Or crispy Kirimurê Oyster, with red wine bernaise. Another fabulous dish that makes Origem one of the most celebrated names on our list of restaurants in Brazil, is the Capeletti with duck, octopus, cured magret and bourbon sauce. The experience culminates with two desserts.
Alameda das Algarobas, 74 – Pituba, Salvador
Taberna Japonesa Quina do Futuro
It is true that the history of Taberna Japonesa Quina do Futuro goes back a long way: this is the second generation in charge of the traditional Recife restaurant. But the reinvention came in 1997, under the management of André Saburo Matsumoto – who took over the eleven-year-old business in the midst of a crisis. And, since then, the chef has become a true gastronomic reference among the huge offer of restaurantes in Brazil, although he is not so present in everyday life (a painful reflection of recognition). From the counter, guests can order the combination of twelve different pieces for a tasting experience (139 BRL) to combos at lunch with affordable prices (69 BRL).
Rua Xavier Marques, 134, Aflitos, Recife
Glouton (Belo Horizonte, Minas Gerais)
Glouton is the only representantative of the Minas Gerais state on Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Glouton is where award-winning chef Léo Paixão exercises all his creativity and technique when handling Brazilian ingredients and products, with emphasis on those cultivated and produced in the state. Passion mixes French haute cuisine, from his training in Paris, with traditional Minas Gerais recipes, a family heritage. In his popular establishment, he works with a tasting menu in eight stages, and each one, according to the chef, is thought not only in itself, but as part of a balanced meal that walks through its notes like a symphony. In the salon, the service is attentive, personalized and precise. Glouton’s waiter works focused on his tables, with a deep knowledge of the menu and wine list, always ready to explain the surprising creations that makes Xapuri one of the top restaurants in Brazil.
Rua Bárbara Heliodora, 59, Lourdes
Banzeiro (Manaus, Amazonas)
Consolidated as a true heritage of Manaus – founded in 2009 – ando ne of the best restaurants in Brazil, Banzeiro presents authorial recipes with Amazonian influence created by the Santa Catarina born chef, Felipe Schaedler (who came to live with his family in the north of the country when he was still a teenager), such as the pirarucu dumpling in a jacket which cured fish and bananas. With generous portions for up to three people and items that are often unknown here, a good option is to try the Rio Negro menu (299 BRL), with tambaqui, tacacá and even ants.
Before opening his restaurant, Felipe immersed himself in the Amazon Forest, listened to the natives and personally chose each supplier and each product. Practicing one of his favorite hobbies, photography, he recorded images and unforgettable moments during his incursion through the interior of the State of Amazonas and thus taking the local gastronomy to the world.
Libertador, 102 – Nossa Sra. das Graças, Manaus – AM
Manga (Salvador, Bahia)
Forget any cliché of traditional Bahian cuisine as seen in many restaurants in Brazil: the couple Dante and Kafe Bassi have created recipes that seem to completely escape local influences – even though Manga has strong relationships with ingredients from the region, in addition to bread, ice cream, and charcuterie of their own production. Even herbs and spices are grown on the restaurant’s terrace. To discover the chefs’ innovations, there are two tasting menu options: seven-step (195 BRL) and twelve-step (290 BRL). In addition to the unusual oyster with pepper ice cream and tomato gel with crab soup, there are à la carte dishes and cocktails.
Rua Prof. Almerinda Dultra, 40, Rio Vermelho, Salvador
Casa do Sardo (São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro City)
Another unmissable spot of our list of restaurants in Brazil is Casa do Sardo. With a rustic and relaxed atmosphere and a Sardinian flag hanging next to wine bottles on the ceiling, the place praises the typical cuisine of the sunny Mediterranean island where chef and owner Silvio Podda was born. With an excellent price and quality ratio, the chef presents a vast repertoire with seafood highlights. Guests will taste the intense flavor of the bottargas in the antipasto – with chips of cured mullet roe with olive oil, celery and lemon. The Porto Junco linguine is in the main series and involves shrimp, octopus and arugula. Pizzas also circulate around the room, in flavors such as shiitake with gorgonzola mix. A typical Sardinian dessert, the seada is a semolina pastry filled with cheese and orange, with pecorino ice cream and honey.
Rua São Cristóvão, 405 – São Cristóvão, Rio de Janeiro
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